The Trainer


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Steve Smith

Steve began training retrievers in 1989. He started training professionally in 1997 when Otter Tail Kennels was founded in Glenwood City, WI. Otter Tail Kennels ran from this location until 2003, when the operation was moved to Sulphur Springs, TX. In 2005, he decided to close the operation due to unforeseen life events.

In January 2019, we reopened the business at a new location south of Menomonie, WI. After serving 26 years on the St. Paul Police Department, Steve has retired and now dedicates his time to training retrievers. We continue to specialize in three breeds— Labrador, Golden, and Chesapeake Bay retrievers, however, we now limit the number of dogs to only six, which allows more “one on one” time with each dog.

At Otter Tail Kennels, you will always know who is training your dog. Steve has no training assistants. If you have questions about your dog, Steve will be able to answer those questions.

Past clients attest to Steve’s patience and teaching ability with the dogs. He treats each dog like it is his own and understands that they are valued and loved by their owners. Keeping this in mind, he takes time each week to contact the dog owner providing an update on how their pet is doing in training.

After your dog completes training at Otter Tail Kennels, you may choose to participate in our “Monday Night Training Group.” Each dog that has graduated from one of our programs is invited with their owner to train with Steve at no cost. This helps your dog remain solid in their skill, as well as keeping you, the owner, polished in handling.

We also have a “Train While Away” option for dogs that have completed one of our programs. With this program, owners can board their retriever at our kennel (provided there is space available) while away or on vacation. While the dog is here, he will be trained each day for a very economical price.